The routine diseases protected against are Tetanus and Equine Influenza.
Tetanus is a horrible disease that is frequently fatal but is easily preventable. We would see between 1 and 3 cases annually within our practice area. An initial course of 2 injections, 4 weeks apart, followed by a booster 12 months later gives a horse or donkey a solid protection against this disease. Thereafter a booster every other year is advised. Whilst a deep puncture wound is the most blamed source of the infection, in many cases a wound is not found.
Equine Influenza is a highly infectious disease that varies in severity but can mean several weeks off work for most horses. Some horses may only develop a fever and inappetance for a few days whilst others develop severe respiratory disease or could develop post viral cardiac complications. We strongly recommend vaccination to all horses that move off yard to competitions, shows or hacks, and also their stable/field companions. The more horses that are vaccinated against flu in an area the less severe a disease outbreak will be. Many competitions and shows have strict guidelines on the timing of equine flu vaccinations and the record in the passport must be accurate and up-to-date.
Our recommended protocol is;
First vaccination, from 6 months of age: Day 1 – FLU (and tetanus)
Second vaccination, 4 weeks later: Day 28 – FLU (and tetanus)
Third vaccination, 6 months after first vaccination: Day 182 –FLU
Thereafter horses require an annual flu booster, which must be given within a year of the last booster i.e. 364 days. Whilst the horse may be fully protected if vaccinated at day 366 it may not be allowed into competitions. We endeavour to notify you when annual boosters are due but please do not rely on this service and it is your responsibility to ensure that boosters are given on time and that all regulations are adhered to.